• WKO Results - Portland, OR

    So I figured I'd try and write up my experience at the Portland, OR WKO on Sunday, November 6th. First of all, I have to thank Guardian Games for hosting an excellent event (and even staying 30 minutes past closing to let us finish!), and Sadat M. for being an excellent TO/Judge. We ended up having 25 participants, which I believe made it the largest WKO that weekend, and guaranteed us 4 Nationals Qualifications (so glad they round up!).

    My schedule means I rarely get to actually go to local events, which is sad since there are places to play 3-4 times a week (shout-out to TFAW Milwaukie, Guardian Games, Rainy Day Games, and Dice Age Games!). So although there was a lot of playtesting and practicing going on, I wasn't able to participate. Maybe that was helpful, maybe not. I do know that I was expecting a lot of Vicious Struggle, and most likely a fair amount of Bard as well. I personally didn't want to bring either, I personally really like single-energy Lantern Ring teams. I've run a few Bolt-Ring teams before, with Iceman TCFW, but I felt that they don't have enough answers for VS. So I decided to go with Mask-Ring based on its performance at Nats/Worlds.

    Here is the team I went with. I definitely had several discussions with TRP staff on what to add/take out, so I absolutely can't claim sole credit on this:

    Morphing Jar: Canopic Jar x4
    Elf Thief: Lesser Harper x4
    Oracle: Master Investigator x2
    Raven: AMZ x 3
    Scarecrow: Legion of Doom x2
    Lantern Ring: LOBI x2
    Dormammu: Burning Ambition x2
    Rip Hunter's Chalkboard x1
    BAC: Polymorph, Blink-Transmutation

    I waffled for a while about having PXG or not, and I came to the determination that Rip Hunter's Chalkboard would serve me better. VS and Bard would both (likely) be running their own PXG, and if not then my team is (mostly) cheap enough that I don't *need* it, especially with RHCB to add to my Prep Area exactly what I wanted when I wanted it. Against VS, if I can get Oracle out fast enough I can shut it down pretty hard, especially with Elf Thiefs taking their energy. Most VS teams bring a force attack global ("taunt") of some kind, and Blink's Global takes care of that. It also helps against Bard teams attacking, and since Lantern Ring triggers on attacking, I can attack and then immediately pull back just to deal the damage. Raven protects my characters from Dwarf Wizard or any other targeting attacks, Scarecrow can delay an early Bard attack, and Dormammu protects me from Cloudkill or Prismatic Spray on a Bard team.

    My initial strategy against VS was: Turn 1, use (their) Red Dragon Global, my RHCB Global, buy my Polymorph for 1, and save a Mask for (their) PXG. Alternatively I could field a Sidekick instead of a Mask if that's what I rolled, but I preferred the other (and ended up getting it most of the time when I needed it). Turn two, rolling 6 dice plus Polymorph, I could usually get 1 Sidekick, buy Oracle, and Poly her in while still having (hopefully) 1 Mask for PXG to maintain some ramp. I had playtested a little of T1 RHCB and Elf Thief, T2 RHCB Oracle, and getting her out T3. It didn't work quick enough against a speedy VS team, so I switched to Poly Oracle and had much better success.

    My first match of the day was against Keith running a VS team. I didn't get his decklist, but it wasn't too bad. I got what I needed and took him out pretty easily. Whew!

    My second match was against Rob D. Rob is a great guy that I've played with before at a few events, most recently at a Strahd RDW. He's only been playing for (I think) 6 months or so, but he's gotten very good. He studies a lot and does a lot of playtesting. He and Justin D. both brought the exact same team, because they had done extensive playtesting and felt that it had the best chance to win. Here's the teamlist:

    BAC: Imprisoned, VS
    Rip Hunter's Chalkboard
    Human Torch: Flame On!
    Professor X: Trainer
    Luke Cage
    Jinzo: Trap Destroyer
    Phoenix: Redd
    Red Dragon

    I don't remember the exact dice count, but honestly it didn't matter. The only character they bought to field really was Jinzo. With Imprisoned and Jinzo, they could really lock down just about any team and steal most of the threats they faced (Oracle, etc.). It was a great team, and it won every game it played with almost no difficulty - except mine

    I was able to get my Oracle out fast enough to shut down the early VS win, and forced him to switch to Imprisoned to get my Oracle. The problem was, if he fielded a Sidekick I could just use his taunt Global to make it attack me and release my Oracle. This first game we played against each other, I don't think he noticed my Blink-Transmutation Global. I was able to keep Oracle out enough to keep his ramp slowed, while I loaded up on Morphing Jars and Elf Thiefs. Relatively quickly I RHCB and got my Lantern Ring out, and then I just kept attacking whenever he didn't have a VS active. Winner: Me (for Rob's only loss in Swiss - according to him, the only team he even struggled with at all).

    My third round was my first against a non-VS team. It was, of course, Bard. Not Bard Blitz or Buzzsaw, but a much slower Bard/Hulk control team. This was against Tom B. - another great guy who runs the events at TFAW Milkwaukie, and is an awesome presence on the Dice Masters PDX Facebook group. He's also a very solid player, he came in second at the last Portland WKO in a very tight battle. This team didn't have PXG, which definitely slowed both of us down, and made me realize that my team really doesn't have any answer to Hulk. Oops. Fortunately, getting Oracle out quickly meant that it was much harder for him to use any Globals, and Oracle's defense is just high enough that it (usually) takes multiple Hulk pings to take her out. I did end up purchasing Raven this game since he had Kryptonite, and due to some very helpful rolls on my part and some less helpful rolls on his part, I was able to pull out the win. 3-0 now.

    My fourth round was against Tom's son, Dylan. He's a younger guy, but an awesome competitor. He always brings very solid teams, and plays them very well. His team was similar to his dad's, a Bard/Hulk control team, but he also used Constantine: Hellblazer very well to keep my Elf Thiefs from attacking and taking his energy. I didn't even mind the losing their text, but it was very annoying not being able to field them for free after the first one! He also got out Ronin: Between Employers fairly quickly, which let him absorb one Lantern Ring damage packet each turn, and I couldn't stabilize fast enough. He also used Polymorph (which we both brought) offensively against me, swapping my Oracle out for an Elf Thief in my Used Pile. Cleared my board with Hulk and swung in with Bard and others to kill me. Even the masks I was holding for Blink's Global weren't enough. 3-1. One more round, if I win then I'm definitely in Top 8, if not then I have to hope my SOS holds.

    We are now to the fifth and final round of Swiss. By this point only 14 people are still playing, and several of them are already mathematically "out" and just playing to finish (everyone else is doing Rainbow Draft side events). My matchup is against Sean P., who I haven't played against a whole lot (and, BTW, who had an awesome custom mat - life counter on top and dice on top of the cards instead of beside). He was also running a Lantern Ring team, but instead of Mask or Bolt, he went Fist/Swarm/Grodd:

    BAC: Anger Issues, Resurrection
    Kobold: Greater Humanoid
    Goblin: Lesser Humanoid
    Stirge: Greater Beast
    Lantern Ring: LOBI
    Captain America: Super Soldier
    Venom: Angelo Fortunado
    Gorilla Grodd: Force of Mind
    Ring: Epic Gear

    So again another PXG-less match, but he made very good use of my RHCB. Also with both Kobold and Goblin having Swarm, let him get a decent amount of dice out, and both Grodd and Venom boosting his characters (and Venom also keeping my board much clearer than I would like). Oracle kept him from Chalkboarding *too* much, or using his Ring Global, but since he didn't rely on PXG it didn't hurt as much as I'd like. I had nothing that could get rid of Venom, so I had very few characters I could field without immediately dying. While that helped with my ramp, it didn't help me get people out that could deal some Lantern Ring damage. When he finally got his Lantern Ring out, I was done. 3-2 in Swiss.

    So (obviously) I ended up making it into the Top 8, but in 7th place. Justin D. went 5-0 with his and Rob's VS-Jinzo-Imprisoned team, and Rob went 4-1 getting 3rd seed. Tom B. went to the very end against Ty N. and his Bat-Family team, taking it all the way to turns and ending up with the only draw of the entire day (which was very much NOT an intentional draw :P ). That put Ty into the Top 8 and kept Tom out. Chris M. also made Top 8 with a Hulk/Tsarina team, Dave T. made it with a clever Mr. Mxyptlk anti-VS team, Sean's Fist Ring team obviously, and Dylan's Hulk Bard team took second seed.

    Lunch Break!

    One of many Rainbow Draft Side Events that went on throughout the day

    At this point, I'm happy to have made Top 8. I got the two BAC foil cards, including the alt art Front Line, which is about all I could expect. My first matchup would be against Dylan's Hulk/Bard team, which I'd already lost to once. I had learned some from the last match, but was still uncertain if it would be enough to win 2 games against him. I was able to get Oracle out relatively quickly, making it significantly harder for him to use my RHCB, and ping his Hulk. He had Ronin out, but I was able to have a great turn relatively early on and hit him hard enough that even redirecting to Ronin wouldn't prevent lethal. First game: me.

    The second game was a lot slower. He had Hulk out, I had Oracle out, I could never really have much of a field because all my low-defense guys would be wiped with one burst-Hulk ping. But I was holding enough masks that he couldn't just attack because I'd distract him back. What I started doing was using the Polymorph Global, spinning down my Elf Thiefs (who wouldn't survive anyways) to spin up his Hulk and get it off its burst face. This meant he'd have to use two energy to Poly it back down, making it much harder for him to be able to ping it (since I still had Oracle out, on her highest defense face). I even managed to buy and field Dormammu, just for the high defense to survive Hulk. The game went to turns, slowly hurting each other when we could, I had turn 0 and couldn't kill him, but even with him having the last turn, he couldn't get lethal on me. Since I was up by 1 game, the "tie" meant that I took the match. Top 4! At this point, all 4 of us have earned our Nationals qualification, which is pretty cool.

    My Top 4 match was against Justin, who was the #1 seed being undefeated in Swiss. As I mentioned earlier, this was the VS-Jinzo-Imprisoned team that he and Rob had cooked up. I'd beaten it once, but it was a very good team. It did, however, bring several tools that I could use - Red Dragon Global for my Polymorph and (eventually) my Lantern Ring, PXG for ramp (largely one-sided with Oracle out), and a taunt for spot removal. The first game he went for his VS like he had been doing all day, but I ignored that and went with my T1 Poly T2 Oracle and with Oracle in the field on my turn 2, he was hurting. He eventually switched and got his Imprisoned, but not before I'd bought several Elf Thiefs and Morphing Jars. The problem was, he'd fielded a Sidekick he couldn't roll to energy. So I taunted that, took the 1 damage, and got my Oracle back. I don't think he realized I had Blink-Transmutation. Even with him getting Jinzo out, I was able to judiciously use Globals to get enough Lantern Ring damage without killing myself. First game: me.

    The second game was, again, a slog. I got Oracle, Justin couldn't VS. He Imprisoned my Oracle, and without having anyone to taunt I couldn't force a release. Once he activated a VS, so I used Luke Cage's Global once, took the 2 damage, and got my Oracle back. This game also went to turns, and had a very poor ending due to a lack of either of us paying enough attention. Here's the situation: I had 7 life left, he had 5 (I think). He had a level 1 Jinzo in the field (5A/5D), two energy ( ), and an Imprisoned. He imprisoned my Oracle, Thief, and Jar that I had fielded, used the Luke Cage Global plus the Human Torch Global to hit me for 2, taking me down to 5, and then swung at my empty board with his 5/5 Jinzo. Of course I had to pay an additional 2 life to Blink-Transmutation him back, leaving me with only 3 life remaining. I rolled my dice, got a Morphing Jar and some masks, and tried to figure out if I could get lethal. This is when it hit me - we hadn't played out the last turn correctly. When he hit me with Luke Cage/Human Torch, that would have cancelled his Imprisoned and I'd get my 3 people back. We called the judge over and tried to figure it out. He claimed that he'd done the Luke Cage Global first and then Imprisoned, except if he'd done that (with my Oracle active), it would have cost him both his energy to do so, only damaging me for 1 and putting me at 6 life. If that would have been the case, I'd have let Jinzo hit me for 5, releasing all my guys and giving me free reign on my turn. The fairest thing that we could come up with would be the same sequeunce of events, but my guys would be released from his Imprisoned and back in my field. I also took all the dice I had rolled that turn, and gave all of them one single roll to end up with whatever I ended up with. I rolled enough masks to deal lethal Ring damage, and that was the end of the second game. It was an unfortunate situation, but it was an illegal game state that had to be resolved. Had I noticed it at the correct time, I don't think there's anything that could have happened differently that would have prevented me from winning, but it's still a frustrating situation for both of us to be in.

    So now I'm in the top 2, and I'm facing Rob. As Justin picks up his team and moves away, Rob comes down and sets down...the exact same team :P At this point I'm feeling slightly more confident, since I've already beaten this team twice, including piloted by this exact player (in Swiss). But he's also had more time to learn against me, and like I said before, Rob is an extremely good player and knew how to pilot his team well. I won the roll to go first, and once again, I managed to roll what I needed to get Oracle out on T2. Rob went with his VS again, before switching over to Jinzo and Imprisoned. While he had my dice Imprisoned, he was very careful not to activate any VS, and in fact he would usually reroll them trying for energy rather than allow me to release my characters by triggering his VS. We both chipped away at each other's life, whenever he rolled a second Imprisoned he would try and get a good hit in before re-Imprisoning my dice. I managed to keep having enough cheap characters that I was rolling enough Mask energy to hurt him a little, then having my attackers KO'd to reroll again next turn. I managed to eke out an early victory in the first game, starting us over for (potentially) our final match. He went first, and I fully expected him to rush to Jinzo again. But he didn't, going again for VS and trying for his T3 win. But I got Oracle out T2, killing his ramp and preventing that, and the second game went much like the first. He would Imprison me (primarily just Oracle), making me wish that I'd put 3 dice on Oracle instead of Raven (OK, I had originally had 3 dice on Scarecrow, before reading his card and realizing he's a Max: 2. The third die was arbitrary anyways). After a long, hard-fought battle, I was able to pull out the win, securing me first place and much congratulations along with shooing out of the store (who had been "closed" for about a half hour at this point).

    Overall, I had a blast. I felt good about my team, I enjoyed playing it, and I don't know that I would have changed much about it. Some type of spot removal for something like Hulk would have been nice, since I didn't have anything that could counter him. But I don't know what I would have taken out instead - maybe Captain Cold's Cold Gun instead of Scarecrow? I never faced any rushing Bard teams, so I never really *needed* him, but if I had I don't know if Oracle would have slowed them down enough for me to get out Dormammu. Regardless, for what I faced, the team worked very well. Special thanks again to my wife Melissa for helping me playtest specifically against VS the day before, and helping me figure out the best way to get Oracle out on T2. And thanks again to everyone at Guardian Games, and all the excellent players who came from all over to play!
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. WeaponO's Avatar
      WeaponO -
      Tremendous write up with some great analysis! Great to see creative team brews and in game strategy at work.
    1. Robdeezel's Avatar
      Robdeezel -
      Thanks for the write up Paul, and nothing but props for your well constructed team. Sadat M. and Guardian Games for putting on a geat event. This was our first major tournament outside of wko drafts. So Justin and I had put in countless hours of play testing and changing/modifying our deck. We just never contemplated your front end makeup. We had no real answer, played with nothing but class and great sportsmanship.
    1. Necromanticer's Avatar
      Necromanticer -
      Congrats on the great showing and a well written report of the event!
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      I'm not a tournament player, really, but may I ask which version of Chalkboard you used?
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      Quote Originally Posted by StrangeBrew View Post
      I'm not a tournament player, really, but may I ask which version of Chalkboard you used?
      Honesty, I'm not either. I impressed myself with my performance, I was not expecting it.

      I used the Common primarily because I didn't have the Rare at the time. I feel the Rare is "better" because it's cheaper, and I never bought it anyways. After the fact, it might not have been a bad idea to buy one (using its Global to time it right) for the life gain. So it goes
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by pk2317 View Post
      Honesty, I'm not either. I impressed myself with my performance, I was not expecting it.

      I used the Common primarily because I didn't have the Rare at the time. I feel the Rare is "better" because it's cheaper, and I never bought it anyways. After the fact, it might not have been a bad idea to buy one (using its Global to time it right) for the life gain. So it goes
      Thanks. I'll take every tip I can get.